Drummond Woodsum Attorneys at Law

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MAINE LABOR BOARD FINDS THAT COMMON PROPOSALS ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE EDUCATIONAL POLICY




Summer 2018


SCHOOL LAW ADVISORY
Volume 30, No. 3

The educational policy doctrine is an important – if sometimes ignored – component of Maine labor law. This rule removes from the negotiating table those “foundational educational value judgments,”2 which the elected school committee, rather than an outside arbitrator, should be responsible for. This rule inevitably raises the questions – what proposals involve matters of educational policy (“ed. policy”) and how should we respond to them? A recent Maine Labor Relations Board decision addressed exactly this issue.

The Case
In Westbrook School Department v. Westbrook Education Association, the teachers association proposed numerous changes involving matters that have been determined to be non-negotiable educational policy, along with a requirement that, if those changes were not adhered to, bargaining unit members would be entitled to a fraction of their per diem rate. They argued that this position did not violate the law’s prohibition on negotiating over matters of educational policy, because the proposals were simply “pure wage proposals,” and thus fell within the mandatory “wages, hours, and working conditions” subjects of bargaining. The Labor Board, however, unanimously disagreed. It found that the association’s proposals (included and described in more detail below), would have illegally interfered with the school committee’s ...To continue reading, visit https://schoollaw.com/school-law-advisory.


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